Monday, November 8, 2010

October Harvest

As mentioned in previous posts, we had a slow start to summer here in the Pacific northwest with a cold and wet June. In fact it was the coldest Portland-area summer in 17 years, and now government forecasters predict that the Pacific Northwest faces a colder and wetter than normal December through February. Understandably our vegetable garden's performance was slow when it came to tomatoes: cherry tomatoes did not begin to ripen until the first part of August, whereas the heirlooms, not until the latter part.

Heirloom Tomatoes: the August tomato harvest was less than 10 pounds; September yielded 43, while October was over five times that amount... 229.22 lbs. We had some 90 degree days that helped boost the ripening process, and the size of the Pineapple and San Marzano 'Gigante' greatly contributed to the overall total weight.

Cherokee purple: the largest Cherokee purple weighted 1.53 pounds, and following an initial burst, it slowed to a trickle, as did the Russian Black Krim, Ashleigh and Nile River Egyptian. Old German produced but a few ripe ones, so the remainder were picked green.

Pineapple was the largest tomato picked, weighing in at 1.7 pounds; additionally, it exceeded all other heirlooms in both individual weight and quantity.

The one Roma produced nicely, and the San Marzano 'Gigante' is definitely on my list of tomatoes I love in flavour, texture, quality... I have saved seeds from the best of them; anyone wanting to try a few, just let me know.

October Harvest total (in pounds) 353.6 lbs
Year to date = 789.3 lbs

Apples 35
Basil 1.2
Beans Sadie's Horse Bean 6.3
Broccoli 5.12
Cucumber 5.6
Eggplant Millionaire 4.23
Kohlrabi 1.6
Melon French Orange 1.2
Peppers Hungarian Hot Wax 4.7
Sweet Peppers 9.2
Potatoes 14.75
Tomatoes, various Heirlooms 229.22
Watermelon Sugar Baby 23.5
Zucchini 11.98

On the last day of October, my husband and I picked the rest of the tomatoes (mostly green), amounting to 57 pounds. The plants are now in the compost pile and the area was cleaned.

I don't have to tell you that I have been living in our kitchen processing, roasting, freezing, cooking, canning... but to our delight we now have Green Tomato Salsa and some Green Tomato and Apple Chutney, both of which turned out nicely.

Broccoli Packman continues to offer a half pound here and there, and I must get out and pick the Kale that has been neglected.

Perhaps the years biggest disappointment was my experiment of growing potatoes in pots. We harvested a few pounds of nice ones earlier in the summer, but then the foliage died back and the recent final harvest was only 15 pounds, although, still quite edible.

Read more here about some of the other heirloom vegetables we grew this year, and if you can believe, I have already ordered a few different heirloom bean varieties for next year.

Despite our weather this gardening season, we are more than pleased and thankful for the production we have experienced. But now the cooler temperature and rains have come, and the garden has wound down a bit, as have I. Some rest may be required for both of us.

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day
is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

~ Etty Hillesum